John Zias

John Zias lends poignant electric guitar to Your Steps Alone and plays classical guitar parts on Jiriki -- two tracks on Sokoband. John also appears on "In-between, II" from Soko:Two.

In 1999, Michael Sokolowski and John became friends via mutual appreciation for the music of the Grateful Dead, exchanging recordings of original music amid dissection of the glory years and musical peaks of that venerable band. John and Mike immediately loved each other's music, John first bringing them together for a project and then recording with Mike for Soko:Two. Currently, they're collaborating with several other players from around the country on an improvisational band project called The Electricians.

John is a brilliant player, bringing a stirring, fluid tone to a melodic and driving approach. He reflects the spectrum of guitar influences and plays in a range of genres -- from rock to jazz to country to free improvisation.

He began playing at the age of 8 and first performed at 11. John co-led the band Cavalry--arguably the first Grateful Dead cover band--with studio whiz Kenny White from 1969 through 1971. John developed his guitar skills alongside guitarists Van Manakas, Eliot Easton and Al DiMeola, leading him ultimately to jazz. His psychedelic roots intertwined with the jazz ethos feed the growth of his unique musical vision.

While he spent the '80s playing in virtually every type of situation, John concentrated on the short-lived but powerful John Zias Band. He then took a hiatus from the music business during the '90s while he and his wife, Dana, raised a family.

More recently, John's playing caught the ear of Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh, with whom he rehearsed in San Francisco for a possible project.

John is a 1978 graduate of the Berklee College of Music where he worked and performed with many great guitarists, including Bill Frisell, Mike Stern, and Pat Metheny -- while studying for two years with Mick Goodrick.

John's current projects include Earth Bombs Mars, whose self-titled CD was released in early 2008 (and includes guest performances from Mike S.). He also plays weekly in Uncle John's Band, whose decade + stint at the legendary Skipper's Smokehouse has made them mainstays of the Tampa music scene.